Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Yet more holiday....

From Thornthwaite we travelled south to the Lune Valley show. Sadly no videos of the agility! Loved this show, and had some really joyous, fun runs with Zazzy who is enjoying her agility more and more (some great results too: two agility wins, plus three seconds, a third, a fourth, and a fifth!) and also joyous runs with Kaydee and Becky in the allsorts, they really loved it. Kaydee is looking great, her muscles are much more balanced, and she is flying round the low jumps (she went round one course in 15 seconds - now I appreciate the difficulties of running a dog at medium height!!). Shame there is nothing to bridge the gap between allsorts (low jumps and tunnels) and the grade 7 courses which are her only other option at KC shows. I had great company and was well looked after (in fact thoroughly spoilt!) by Bernadette and Dennis, Nancy and Andy, Anne and Tony and Sue and Mike who were camped near by. I had my first taste of bananas BBQ'd with curleywurleys (not sure how to spell that though!) and snickers bars. Plus many other very naughtly but very tasty things! I stayed on a couple of days after the show, for the 'bit in the middle', where we got together for some agility training along with Pete and Margarate Jennings, and Norman Stokoe, which was really fun as well as interesting. A couple more walks, up Gummers Howe:

and lastly found my way to the top of the big hill that overlooks the showground (forgotten what it is called though) (and forgot to take the camera too) on my last morning.

I then left for the Tuffley show (Berkely House, Gloucestershire). Another fantastic venue.

I really enjoyed my weekend at Tuffley as well. Zazzy again was running really well, but I made mistakes. In her KC qualifier I said 'go' thinking she would move off the A-frame with me, but she was very good and went straight on just like I have trained her, I should have said 'left'. Think I just about recovered quickly enough that she didn't realise my mistake, and despite that elimination she carried on smoothly to do a really good run over the rest of the course. She impressed me with her run round a very tight and tricky course, but seemed to stumble in the weaves and missed the last weave pole. I was later told she had spooked at the judge who was rushing very close by over the cloth tunnel to get to the A-frame. So more distraction training needed! She did a good run in the CSJ qualifier, just missing out on going to the final by less than 0.2 secs (top 2 qualified). I chose to play it safe and front cross to prevent her going down the more obvious end of the tunnel, and lost a bit of time by giving her more ground to cover than necessary there.

Got home Sunday night, and Monday was very lucky to be able to train with Dawn Weaver, Toni Dawkins, Polly and Karen. A fabulous day. Deece's sisters (Galaxy and Lotus) are looking phenominal already, you can really see how slowly and carefully Dawn has taken the first stages of their training, lots of shaping and attention to detail! I was a bit embarrassed to reveal my comparatively rough half started efforts with Deece! Toni made us laugh by saying she can't be doing with all that shaping stuff, she had just plonked Kite on the end of the contact plank and told her she was good. There's probably a bit more involved than that I bet! Toni's baby, 'Cute', is also looking absolutely fabulous. I took the opportunity to do some fast pulls to the 'wrong end' of the tunnel with Zazzy, and got Toni to stomp up and down by the weaves while Zazzy ran through them. Shame I can't have another go at those courses now that I'm ready for them!! I'm really happy for Toni about her move to Belgium, although at the same time sad that we are 'loosing' her. However she promises to come back for a week every month for the foreseeable future, I hope she will be able to keep to that! One last thing I have noticed is how much better Deece is moving - balanced and co-ordinated - follwing our hill walks. I can really see why Silvia Trkman rates her trips into the mountains so highly for getting her dogs physically prepared to do agility.


Back to the lovely lovely holiday.... I mentioned Newton Heath. As well as a great venue they are lovely people there, it was great fun helping pack up the show on Sunday.

Arley House

Exercise areas

After the Newton Heath show, it was up to the north-western part of the Lake District where I stayed in Thornthwaite

A farm campsite where the chooks and lambs kept us company:

We had the most wonderful walks in the hills, including Hay Stacks:


Whinlatter Forest (no pictures though), Knot Rigg:

Lords Seat (no pictures, it rained - gasp!! So all we could see was the inside of a cloud!!)


Plus other woods and lakes

Monday, July 5, 2010

Holiday... continued!

Oops the images were taking so long to load I fell asleep!
Back to earth now with a bump after such a fabulous holiday. I was thinking oh wouldn't it be lovely to live in such a beautiful place? I wonder what that would be like. I would love to live somewhere more dog friendly, with lovely walks close by. My walks in the hills showed me that we are really not fit! Not that I didn't really know that. When I was younger I had plenty of drive and self discipline. In the last few years it has all dwindled! I suppose partly because of retiring Becky and Kaydee and not seeing any immediate reason or motivation to keep pushing myself to keep fit. It's also quite hard around here to find a place to go for walks or runs unhindered. I constantly worry about what other people and other peoples' dogs are doing, since the problems I have had in the past have been so devasting and detrimental. I have to drive 45 mins to get anywhere nice and my time is pretty much already accounted for, working full time, teaching two evenings a week, training one, shopping on the other and then usually off to a show Fridays to Sundays! Oh excuses excuses. When I chose my career I was concerned about the world and the environment, I didn't think making lots of money for moneys sake would be my route to happiness (although naively I didn't realise the salary might be so meagre that I might not have enough to pay for all the necessities!), and had a huge interest in how plants work and plant research. While that is all still true, I have frequent conversations where people have said that they do not believe there is enough proof of man-made climate change, or there is a problem with bees populations crashing (and so what if that happens anyway), etc etc etc. I am not sure quite where the communication has failed but it seems that not everyone thinks that the environment is damaged by human actions, and I'm shocked that people don't think that it's a problem even if the proof is provided that it is. We seem so detached from how important the environment is and how it works. And it depresses me that while there is relatively little money spent finding out more about our planet, how it works so that - at least - we know the extent of the damage/how to prevent more damage/how it can be restored to a healthy state, meanwhile footballers, filmstars, popstars, bankers etc earn such disgustingly huge amounts. Food, air, water, climate affect us all, they are fundamental, precious, how can people think it's not their problem, not worth investing in, not more important than a film, song, bankers' bonus, or football match?
I have never heard anyone say, oh s/he made his/her millions by being a good scientist, have you?
Well I did really really enjoy my holiday in my little caravan (despite its leaky window and barely working fridge), and I suppose at the end of the day at least I can put my hand up and say I did make sacrifices to my life style to try and do what I could. But right now I just feel tired!
Oops that was not really about the holiday sorry. Will finish that later.

Added later:
Sorry about that rant, not hard to spot the person back at work who wishes they were still on holiday is it?!
It was not my intention to pick on any individual, just to try and point out the (imo) perverse priorities of our society. Look back in history and see how the last trees were cut down on Easter Island to build and move monstrous statues designed to appease the Gods. This lead to environmental degradation, loss of firewood, and the demise of all the people on the island. Such disasters could not destroy such an enlightened civilisation as ours now could it??

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Back from our holiday!

Just back from a fabulous two week/three weekends away, a stange little time warp as it feels like hardly any time at all, and at the same time quite a lot has happened!

Firstly, there was the Newton Heath show at a really lovely new venue (Arley Hall). Impressive house and gardens, and lots of space to walk the dogs. Great courses. Zazzy got a second and fourth place in graded agility classes but was still more than 2 seconds off the pace in the grades 3-5 KC Olympia qualifier (she came 9th, the top 3 qualify).

From Arley Hall we travelled on up to the Lake District, where I made camp at a small campsite on a farm. We spent the week walking in the hills, and paddling in the lakes. Mostly glorious weather, it was just fantastic.Lots of sheep meant all dogs had to be kept on a lead at times.....It turns out that Deece is quite a water baby!

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